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In W.H. Auden’s poetry, the house symbolizes and allows the civilizing act of creating a common world. It presents a determined alternative to loneliness and the apocalyptic fears of the 20th Century. Born and raised in England, Auden spent much of his adult life in various parts of New York City. The more village-like enclaves of Brooklyn Heights and the East Village were the most important of these places. In the communal “February House” in Brooklyn he shared art and life with a diverse group of creative people that included Carson McCullers, Benjamin Britten, and Gypsy Rose Lee. Later, in a decidedly shabby building on Manhattan’s Saint Mark Place artists and thinkers visited him and his lover Chester Kallman in droves, including T.S. Eliot, Igor Stravinsky, Allen Ginsberg, Marianne Moore, Christopher Isherwood, and Oliver Sacks. In the Lower East Side, Auden found a kindred spirit in his neighbor Dorothy Day and her Catholic Worker Houses of Hospitality that housed and fed the destitute, and worked for peace and justice. He was also a devoted parishioner at St. Mark's Church in-the-Bowery. In this remarkably broader and eclectic sense, Auden, who often spoke of feeling alone, belonged. Join Laurence Frommer in a celebration of Thanksgiving as we explore several of Auden’s “homes” in Brooklyn and Manhattan. This tour will require the use of one metro card trip. Cost: $30 / $20 Members.
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